CHERRIES boss Gary O’Neil shared how he felt “privileged” to tell David Brooks he would be named in a matchday squad for the first time since recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Welsh international Brooks was an unused substitute as Cherries edged past last year’s Champions League finalist Liverpool, courtesy of Phil Billing’s first-half goal.

The former Sheffield United man had last been involved on a matchday 525 days prior, when he was an unused substitute in Cherries’ win over his former club Sheffield United.

After being given the all-clear in May, Brooks has slowly worked his way back to full fitness, suffering a setback with a hamstring injury in August.

Asked how the news of returning to the fold for a Premier League match was broached with Brooks, O’Neil commented: “I felt privileged to even be able to sit and tell him yesterday that it was me that got to tell him. I think for him, for his family, the journey he's been on and what he's been through, what they've all been through.

“I was absolutely delighted for him.

“I think it still needs to be realistic with how much he can do at the moment.

“I was desperate to try and get him on at some point. Unfortunately, the game didn't really go that way.

“He scored a goal in training on Wednesday in 11v11, and I just thought, ‘we need to get this guy back involved somehow.’

“We pushed quite hard to get him back involved.”

Revealing how Brooks responded to the news, O’Neil continued: “He was delighted yesterday, but the boys were delighted as well, obviously, they've been through a lot of it with him, so hopefully we can get Brooksy even fitter.

“And he is now and he's a fantastic player, he showed some incredible moments in training recently, so looking forward to having him back around.

“He was pleased. I asked him to keep it quiet, I didn't want it getting out yesterday. I thought it was important for him and everybody that the news came out today.

“That's almost impossible in this day and age, but I think we managed it.

“So, he was pleased, of course. Probably a bit worried that I might chuck him on after 30 minutes if someone got injured, but I promised him I wouldn't,” O’Neil commented before correcting himself.

He smiled: “I promised him I'd try not to, I didn't say I wouldn't.

“Delighted. Incredible moment for him. Looking forward to him getting back on the pitch.”